Lack of support breaking dancers’ Olympic dreams

The meteoric rise of the dancesport now has planted Olympic aspirations in b-boys and b-girls across the world, including Tamil Nadu.

Published: 27th September 2021 04:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2021 02:49 PM   |  A+A-

B Boys

Organiser of battle events Sunny Deon (left), B-boy Madhan (centre) and B-boy Jaka. The dancers are reportedly struggling for resources to up their performances. (Photo | Special arrangement)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: It became an Olympic event in 2020, and there are enough performers in the State rearing to go. But, breaking or breakdancing, an acrobatic urban street dance style, is still in its nascent stage in Tamil Nadu with little or no support to its practitioners, called B-boys and B-girls (break boys and girls).

The community worldwide got a big shot in the arm when the dancesport leapfrogged over other sports and was included as a medal event in the 2024 Paris Olympics, after a much-heated debate on whether breaking falls under the sports or cultural artform category.

The meteoric rise of the dancesport now has planted Olympic aspirations in b-boys and b-girls across the world, including Tamil Nadu.

Reportedly birthed in the United States around five decades ago, breaking spread across the world with its disciples performing breathtaking athletic spins, jumps, whirls, and freezes in sync with hip-hop music from high-decibel boomboxes rattling windows.

It isn't just individual performances, competition is inherent in the dancesport and fierce battles between b-boys and b-girls are a crowd-puller.

However, the community members in Tamil Nadu lamented that the sport is still nascent, seeking the intervention of the State government and private sports accessory brands to better the situation.

Sunny Deon (35), who has been organising battle events for more than 10 years, lamented that none in the State still understands the significance of the dancesport being included in the Olympics.

Deon said many of the b-boys and b-girls (as young as eight-year-olds) in the State are from the underprivileged sections who have immense talent and stamina but lack the resources needed for the dancesport to fulfill their dreams.

Lately, B-boy J Nathan (32), who dances under the name 'Jaka', has been selling face masks for a living in Thirumangalam, after the pandemic grabbed his job as a dance trainer in a school.

"We have talents who can grab medals in the Olympics. But, first, we need to have access to healthy food," Nathan said.  

Around 60 breakdancers gathered for a battle in a private school in Perambur recently. Speaking to TNIE, many of them wanted the government to first recognise the dancesport on par with other athletics that are already included in the Olympics.

B-boy Madhan, who participated in a deliberation held in the city recently to chalk out a plan of action towards the Olympics, said the government and civic bodies can think of allowing the dancers to practice in empty spaces, including metro stations, and government sports complexes.

"Since this breaking involves acrobatic moves, we need physiotherapists. We really cannot afford one. Government sponsorships, accessory kits, and job opportunities as dance teachers are going to immensely help us," Madhan said.

Sports department secretary and Additional Chief Secretary Apurva Varma could not be reached on phone or messages.

More about the style 

  • Breaking or breakdancing is an acrobatic urban street dance style. 
  • It first originated in United States around five decades ago.
  • This dancesport includes athletic spins, jumps, whirls, and freezes in sync with hip-hop music from high-decibel boomboxes.
  • Breaking is not just individual performance; competition is inherent in this dancesport. 

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